I'm not at the convention, so thanks for those who have helped me collect info. Here is some of the notes I've been able to scribble down so far...
On the outfield...
- David DeJesus will play CF, according to Dale Sveum.
- The Cubs are basically done adding this offseason unless some tremendous bargain falls in their lap. The one area that Jed Hoyer has addressed specifically is the OF depth. The Cubs biggest need is a CF'er who hits RH and plays defense. They've brought in Brent Lillibridge and Darnell McDonald as candidates, but that's an obvious area for an upgrade. Hoyer said he'd like to add an OF'er, but it doesn't mean that there's a deal out there for them.
- Alfonso Soriano is set in LF and the Cubs veteran likes it that way.
"I want to stay here and finish my career here and try to win before I retire. I signed here to bring a World Series winner to Chicago. It's been a long time since they won a World Series. That's my dream. I hope to stay here, and when they win, I want to be part of that team."
We've seen this offseason that the Cubs are willing to talk about Soriano, but they aren't about to give him away. The Cubs value what he brings on and off the field and expect value in return.
- While Hoyer said he may still add to the OF mix, Dale Sveum is happy with the group they have now.
- The Cubs don't have many players in the WBC but, per Carrie Muskat, one player turned them down in what he called a difficult decision. Castro was invited to backup Jose Reyes but thought he'd be better off working on his game,
"Every year I want to be better," Castro said on Friday at the Cubs Convention. "Every year, I work hard to be better than I was the year before. That's why I'm working now; that's why I'm not going to the World Baseball Classic. I won't play for the Dominican because it's more important for me to be ready for the [Cubs]. I want to help the [Cubs]."
It's better for me to be working and play every day in Spring Training. If I go, I'd play one day, two days a week. I don't want that. I want to work. It's one of my goals to play for my country, and it's tough for me [to say no]," Castro said. "But it's not the last one. I know I'll be there."
What encourages me about this is that Castro chose the less glamorous route in order to work on his game and help the team. It speaks to his increasing maturity. I especially like that he knows the WBC will be there for him. That he has the confidence to delay that gratification is extremely encouraging to me for this growth as a person and a ballplayer. The kid turns 23 in March. Maturity may be the only thing keeping him from taking that next step forward. It's certainly a far cry from last year when Castro put himself in a bad position and wound up battling legal problems all spring.
On Cubs pitching prospects...
- Randy Bush says the pitching prospect to keep your eye on for 2013 is Nick Struck.
- Forgotten prospect Dallas Beeler, who was #12 on the BA list last year, has plenty to say. He lauded the Cubs front office and the info and game-planning strategy they're able to provide. Beeler also said his goal is to make the Hall-of-Fame, saying, "If you're not setting your sights on that as a ballplayer, then what are you doing?" Got to like the confidence.
- Robert Whitenack also lauded the Cubs new information/game-planning that is being provided to all pitchers. As far as his health, he says he's "90-95%" and is starting to feel "normal".
...says he's 100% healthy and feels better than he has in 2 years. It's a common refrain this time of year, so I'll take that with a grain of salt but there's no doubt the Cubs could use a big rebound from Stewart to have a shot at competing this year.
The Carlos Villanueva signing...
...should be announced today, which means there will be a corresponding move. The Cubs have already started to lose some useful players from their 40 man roster and it'll be tough to take from a thin outfield and catching core, but the Cubs may have have little choice. Looking at the pitching corps, you have to think that maybe Lendy Castillo has reason to worry. Considering the Cubs need for power arms, you'd like to hang on to him. Hopefully the Cubs can make a trade and resolve the roster issue and pick up some OF depth at the same time, but I'm not holding my breath on that. It may be Tony Campana (I know I've said that a million times) but the Cubs have plenty of non-roster spring training invitees who could play that 5th OF'er role.
On Welington and Yadier...
Bench coach and former catcher Jamie Quirk said that Welington Castillo is "light years ahead" of where he was last year and has all the physical tools of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.
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